Sybrina Fulton, mother of the slain teenager Trayvon Martin, spoke on a panel discussion in Los Angeles at Manifest Justice, an art activist showcase focused on the theme of social inequality.
"When I pick myself up off that floor and I opened my hand full of tears, I told myself, you can do better than this, you can do more than this, and I got up from there that day and I decided that I have to be a spokesperson for people that can't speak. I have to be a spokesperson for the voiceless. My son is not here to speak for himself, I am Trayvon Martin," she told a packed house.
Visitors unable to find seats or standing room in the lecture hall stood in stairwells and adjoining exhibit rooms to listen to Ms. Fulton's voice over the speaker system.
Her son, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in a case that came into the national and global spotlight. Fulton has now become a spokesperson promoting awareness about violent crimes and their effects on families and communities. She also speaks passionately about racial profiling and human civility.
"You will pull your car over to help an animal that's being injured before you will help another human being than I'm speaking to you, I'm speaking to you, because it's about awareness, because it's about admitting when we have a problem," Fulton said.
Her son, Trayvon, was shot unarmed after Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense during a confrontation in a neighborhood in Sanford, Florida.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, followed and stopped the teenager because he thought he was suspicious. He was acquitted of murder in February of this year.
The pop-up exhibit, presented by Sons & Brothers in partnership with Amnesty International, is a collection of pieces by over 150 artists including Sandow Birk, Jordan Weber, Jerome Lagarrigue, Jim Darling and Michael D'Antuono.
Art, as a the tip of the spear for social change, is the goal of organizers and participants reacting to indignation following the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York.
A series of fatal police confrontations across the country have put law enforcement agencies under scrutiny over the use of force, especially against minorities, the poor and the mentally ill.